I'm trying to avoid having this blog dwell too much on campaign issues, but this one is really bothering me, and I think there are a couple of reasons for it. Mayor Jarjura's proposal to purchase the 130+ acre Park Road parcel of woodlands from Norman Drubner is a proposal I would support if there was a plan to preserve it as open space (instead the plan seems to be to sell it to the next eager developer--who will that be? Jarjura?) and if the price were more realistic. Spending $1.7 million to buy land that has been assessed at less than $40,000 just doesn't sit right with me.
Jarjura says the expenditure is an investment for the city. I have a better investment proposal. For $1.75 million, the city (or designated organization, for example, WDC) could purchase every abandoned, blighted house in my neighborhood (and there are a lot of them!), rehabilitate them, and then sell them to people who would live in them and maintain them. The city would possibly make an immediate financial profit, followed by an increase in tax collection from the newly owned buildings, and the improvement to this neighborhood would be phenomenal. In one year, my neighborhood could go from being blighted to being one of the nicer neighborhoods in the city.
Or we could just stick with Jarjura's plan and funnel the money into Drubner's bank account without making any improvements to the city in the short or long run. That's Jarjura's plan, isn't it? Use the property exactly the same way as Drubner would, but first give him a big chunk of taxpayer money.
Now that it's been re-appraised for $4.3 million, wouldn't it be more profitable to let Drubner keep it and pay the appropriate taxes on it?